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Discussion Starter #1
I must admit I have been spoiled owning my BMW GSA's in the past with the electronic suspension. Changing setting at the push of a button. Well I'm 250lbs and in need of some suspension work I would suppose. I figure at my weight the stock ones are not correct. This is my deal. I have no idea myself how to setup suspension, how to remove it or to send to someone or anything like that. I'm sure I could figure out how to take it out but once I get it out who's the recommended place to send it to get it set up right? I've been trying to go thought some of these suspension threads over the past year but it seems like most guys are DIY guys. Isn't there someone out there that can just do it all for me? There's no way I'm gonna trust myself to change fork springs etc. Where would you go and what's it gonna set me back to have it done? And will I even notice a difference. Is it really that critical?
 

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Fork springs are no problem, I put Sonic springs in mine and it was much better, I weigh close to what you do. The shock is another story, I want to put a heavier spring on mine as it is maxed out on preload.
 

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It sounds like you need to find a local suspension shop where you can ride the bike in and they'll take the suspension off, respring/revalve the forks and shock. If there's no local shop there's few companies that you can send your forks and shock to and have rebuilt for your weight and riding style, such as Race Tech, Cogent, and Daugherty Motorsports. But if you're not a DIYer you'll need to take the bike to the dealer to have the suspension taken off and sent out. If you're going to do this it might be better to buy a rear shock and fork internals and have the dealer just install them. This might be the easiest solution, research aftermarket shocks and pick one, research fork options, most likely a heavier spring for your weight, and possibly a cartridge emulator such as Race Tech, Ricor, or Cogent. Take your bike along, with your new upgrades, to the dealer and they can put them on in a day.
 

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The rear shock is a simple bolt in process. Ordering the correct one is fairly easy, you do need to talk to someone about what you need to get the right spring and valving.

The front is actually easier than most think. Not sure what V Strom you have, just springs and oil in a 1000 helps a lot. Springs, oil, and cartridge emulators are the way to go in a 650.

Any competent motorcycle shop can do this for you.
 

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Yes, you will notice a difference and its well worth it! The factory suspension is set up for Jockeys (165-175lbs rider), not real humans. I weigh 220 and just added 1.0 Sonic Springs in the forks. Very nice and well worth it. Now when I am riding off pavement and hit a hole or a rock it doesn't knock my teeth out. Nose diving under braking is also reduced. I have an Elka rear suspension but the spring there needs to be stiffer and I have plans to swap that out as well. But even with the lighter spring, its massively improved over stock.

Now to the DIY part. I am by no means a mechanic, but swapping out the springs was really simple. It just takes patience taking the front end apart and putting it back together (that's harder than actually disassembling/assembling the forks.. BlackLab has a very detailed "how to" written up and made it a very easy project. But the motorcycle is a toy for me, something to learn on. So I don't have a problem taking a crack at working on it. I have riding buddies and google that can lend a hand to damn near do anything on the bike.
 

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lacofdfireman, do you have a local shop you trust? They can do the work with parts you get from elsewhere.

Rich Desmond's Sonic Springs are a good choice for the front. You can contact Rich for suspension advice, and he rides a V-Strom. SonicSprings.com

Cogent Dynamics has a drop-in damping valve for the forks. They can also re-spring your shock, as can many local shops. Drop in Damper Cartridge (DDC)

Blair Layton at svracingparts offers the excellent complete Elka shock.
SV Racing Parts | Store

Richland Rick makes fork braces and other parts he makes that help improve the bike and make the bike fit the rider. http://www.adventuretech.biz/

There is a lot of overlap from these vendors. Rich has front springs and great advice. Blair has front springs, RaceTech front damping valves, and the Elka shock, along with good advice. Cogent offers everything as well. Spread the wealth or go with one--you'll like the result.
 

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Swapping the front and back springs isn't too involved if you have the tools, a shop manual and courage. Well worth the effort but not up to GSA standards. :yesnod:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok thanks for the replies. So just give it to me straight up. What's the good setup if I have say $1500 to spend. I't looks like I can at least take everything off but I would probably pay someone to do the labor on the Front forks. I would take the front forks to them but just have them install whatever I buy. So what would you go with. I figure I weight 250, wife 125 then luggage another 30-50 so we are talking 425lbs all in with gear. I have no idea what emulators are vs. springs. Do I need both? I figure the rear shock is basic. I just order the correct one and replace stock and reinstall new one. The forks seem a little more involved though. That's why I would pay to have those done, so they are done right. Hoping to get this all done before the Tour of California in May. I wanna be set up right..
 

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We want to fix two things...get front and rear springs that suit our loaded riding weight, and perhaps improve the damping of the front dampers (forks) and rear damper (shock). Just getting the springs right is the first job.

Front spring rate calculator
SonicSprings.com

RaceTech cartridge emulators are one type of improved damping valve to make the forks react more accurately when you cross a bump. Others are the Cogent Dynamics Drop In Damper Cartridge and the Ricor Intiminator. I think the RaceTech unit requires more disassembly and work on the forks, and the Intiminator might take more trials and changes to get to your liking (although I think they changed the setting since I bought mine).

So...from my experience I know that Blair at Svracingparts and Rich Desmond at Sonic Springs are very good guys to work with, as well as Richland Rick for the fork brace--all ride Stroms. We've heard good things about the owner of Cogent Dynamics, but we don't know what he rides. Try emailing or telephoning these guys, tell them your situation, and get their advice, prices, and availability of parts. Me...I'd get the front springs from Rich, front damper valve cartridge from Cogent, Elka shock from Blair (or the stock shock reworked by Cogent), and fork brace from Rick. There is nothing wrong with getting everything from one source. Your local shop can give you prices for their work; it shouldn't be a lot.
 

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Ok thanks for the replies. So just give it to me straight up. What's the good setup if I have say $1500 to spend.
There's many answers to this one, and I'm sure you're going to hear them. It sounds like you want something simple, that doesn't require a lot of tweaking, and also performs well.

FORKS: I'd say start with a set of Sonic springs for your weight, they have a calculator on their site, the link is above. You can always upgrade to an emulator later if need more performance. I'd go with Ricor or Cogent since they install easily, rather than Race Tech which require a little more modifying. Springs are roughly $100, emulators around $175.

SHOCK: Something custom made for your weight and riding style, they don't really cost anymore than an off the shelf shock, such as a Progressive. Since you carry a passenger it should have a remote preload. Elka is very popular, they are completely adjustable (lots of knobs to twist), great bang for the buck, you can get them through sv racing about $1000, link above. If you don't want to twist knobs Cogent, Ricor, and others custom make shocks with less adjustability for around $600 to $700.

If you want a good, simple package call Cogent and get their front fork kit and shock, both made for you for probably under $1000....done.

Lots of options here.
 

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I've been down this path with my 2012 Vee. Regardless of what you do to the Vee's suspension it'll never be as good as your GSA's. I'm not a suspension Guru but the below is what I found helped me after many hours of mucking around with the bikes suspension and wasting a bit of money too.

If your on a budget I'd replace the fork springs and rear shock spring first. Play around with different weight fork oils and oil levels to suit your style of riding. I found an oil level of 130 mm to be a good starting point. Cartridge forks work best with lighter oils so I'd start with a 5W or 7.5W fork oil. Rider sag which works for me front and rear is around 40 to 45 mm.

The OEM rear spring is around 8.2 kg/mm and I replaced it with a 11.6kg/mm spring for my weight and riding requirements. It's an Eibach spring which I purchased from Race Tech. The spring is a bit shorter than OEM so you'll need a couple of adapter collars and a spacer, all pretty cheap.

I've had no issues with the heavier spring blowing through the rebound damping. I've still got rebound damping adjustment left on the shock and I'd say I could even go with a heavier spring again. The shock does fade a bit but the ride quality is an improvement over stock.

If your not vertically challenged, I reckon the addition of raising links is good value. I found that the front suspension seems to unload a lot, especially when 2 up/loaded, The raising links seemed to settle the bike by reducing the forward/aft pitching movement. This allowed a constant weight over the front suspension which definitely helps it to work better. The bike will also turn into corners marginally quicker. I'm using 20 mm raising links. Raising the fork tubes by 10 to 15 mm seems to have a similar affect if your short in the leg.

That's the end of my budget fixes. The front end is harsh on the Vee due to weak springs and poor compression damping. If you want to improve things further RT gold valves and a compression shim stack to suit worked for me. There's other options along with aftermarket rear shocks but it all starts to get expensive from here on!

Good luck.
 

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I am also one of The Large (see photo above). And I ride rather expeditiously, even if I do say so myself. :mrgreen:

Up front, it sounds like things are fairly straightforward -- straight rate springs, change oil, install fork brace. The one variable is whether you want to install Gold Valves or not. I have not, but you may need to in order to achieve what you're after.

Out back, you can be a lot happier for quite a while with a stronger spring on the stock shock. Bang for the buck can't be beat.

After saving up pennies for a while, I upgraded to a stock shock rebuilt, resprung for my mass, and revalved by a supplier who is no longer in business. I felt this was well worth the $450 cost, and I'm now quite satisfied with the suspension as it is.

Let me put it this way: I'd say my suspension is at about 95% of its potential with around $600 invested. You can spend more -- a lot more -- to extract that last few percent.
 

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lacofdfireman which Strom do you ride?

Why I ask is that some models are reputed to be not so good (wee 650's) and some OK ( Glee 650) . The 1000 models I would guess that the latest model is far superior to the previous design.

Initially I thought that the front end of my Glee 650 was harsh. The back end seemed OK.
I was comparing it to my worked suspension on a DRZ400 ( twice the travel) . Just as a starting point I backed off the front preload adjuster to zero (it was at the second position) and the harshness on sudden road edges/potholes was much reduced. I was considering Cogent DDC and straight wound springs, but now I will have to test ride it at higher speed before I decide.

My point : get someone to help you set the preload/ rider sag to suit your weight before spending $ on new components
 

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good information

I've been down this path with my 2012 Vee. Regardless of what you do to the Vee's suspension it'll never be as good as your GSA's. I'm not a suspension Guru but the below is what I found helped me after many hours of mucking around with the bikes suspension and wasting a bit of money too.

If your on a budget I'd replace the fork springs and rear shock spring first. Play around with different weight fork oils and oil levels to suit your style of riding. I found an oil level of 130 mm to be a good starting point. Cartridge forks work best with lighter oils so I'd start with a 5W or 7.5W fork oil. Rider sag which works for me front and rear is around 40 to 45 mm.

The OEM rear spring is around 8.2 kg/mm and I replaced it with a 11.6kg/mm spring for my weight and riding requirements. It's an Eibach spring which I purchased from Race Tech. The spring is a bit shorter than OEM so you'll need a couple of adapter collars and a spacer, all pretty cheap.

I've had no issues with the heavier spring blowing through the rebound damping. I've still got rebound damping adjustment left on the shock and I'd say I could even go with a heavier spring again. The shock does fade a bit but the ride quality is an improvement over stock.

If your not vertically challenged, I reckon the addition of raising links is good value. I found that the front suspension seems to unload a lot, especially when 2 up/loaded, The raising links seemed to settle the bike by reducing the forward/aft pitching movement. This allowed a constant weight over the front suspension which definitely helps it to work better. The bike will also turn into corners marginally quicker. I'm using 20 mm raising links. Raising the fork tubes by 10 to 15 mm seems to have a similar affect if your short in the leg.

That's the end of my budget fixes. The front end is harsh on the Vee due to weak springs and poor compression damping. If you want to improve things further RT gold valves and a compression shim stack to suit worked for me. There's other options along with aftermarket rear shocks but it all starts to get expensive from here on!

Good luck.
The only thing I disagree with is that the DL isn't fitted with cartridge forks. It has damper-rod style forks. Cartridge forks would be a great improvement!!!
 

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Old 1000 had a poor cartridge system. New 1000 has a good cartridge system with adjustable compression and rebound damping. New shock is also better, but still no compression damping adjustment.


Back to LACO....I'd get front springs from Sonic ('cuz Rich gives good advice here) and everything else from Cogent. This includes advice from both those sources on what will work best for the riders in question. LA, be sure to give your weights fully geared up in riding clothing.
 

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FYI Racetech will do the rear shock for about $300 plus 100 for a spring if needed, most do

I will be flipping a coin vs a progressive
 

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There's many answers to this one, and I'm sure you're going to hear them. It sounds like you want something simple, that doesn't require a lot of tweaking, and also performs well.

FORKS: I'd say start with a set of Sonic springs for your weight, they have a calculator on their site, the link is above. You can always upgrade to an emulator later if need more performance. I'd go with Ricor or Cogent since they install easily, rather than Race Tech which require a little more modifying. Springs are roughly $100, emulators around $175.

SHOCK: Something custom made for your weight and riding style, they don't really cost anymore than an off the shelf shock, such as a Progressive. Since you carry a passenger it should have a remote preload. Elka is very popular, they are completely adjustable (lots of knobs to twist), great bang for the buck, you can get them through sv racing about $1000, link above. If you don't want to twist knobs Cogent, Ricor, and others custom make shocks with less adjustability for around $600 to $700.

If you want a good, simple package call Cogent and get their front fork kit and shock, both made for you for probably under $1000....done.

Lots of options here.
I think that's the option I'm going with. Procycle has a pretty complete list of aftermarket suspension mods for the 'Strom and from my reading, this looks like a good, high-value update. On my old bike (DR650) I put nearly that much into having Race Tech go through my factory shock (gold valve) and forks. For just a bit more money with Cogent you get a complete aftermarket shock.
 

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